Adam Jones’ country needed him when he stepped into the batter’s box to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning. The United States trailed Venezuela 2-1 in a second-round opener of the World Baseball Classic. Jones, playing in his native San Diego, blasted a solo home run in the notoriously pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
His excitement was evident as he rounded the bases. And it proved contagious. Eric Hosmer stroked a two-run homer three batters later to give the United States its decisive 4-2 cushion.
“After that swing from Jonesy, it just seemed like the energy in the dugout just kind of shifted to our side and really got things sparked up for our club, Hosmer said.
Jones, a five-time All-Star, is rapidly becoming a national hero with his dramatic heroics in this WBC. He also secured a victory in the tournament opener against Colombia with a walk-off single.
The magnitude of the moment was not lost on him.
“This ranks up high,” Jones said after sparking the game-winning rally. “I’ve been in the postseason a couple times, but I haven’t won it. … To do (this) in San Diego, a military city, representing the United States, my brother and my father and countless friends of mine representing the United States in the military, it’s pretty special.
The United States faces Puerto Rico on Friday night. The winner will take sole position of first place in Pool F and be in great position to make the semifinals for the second time in WBC history.